“We want to help teenagers and young girls. Give them the information that they need… we want to take them out with the old women and ladies, teach them about culture and country”
Marci Cook and Amanda Smith
Marcia Cook and Amanda Smith run the Indigenous Parenting Support Program. Both women come from local communities and have grown up within the Fitzroy Valley. Their great respect and appreciation for their cultural heritage and the knowledge of their elders, along with family interconnections and community cohesion, has been their motivation for committing to societal recovery and reconstruction work. Marcia and Amanda are dedicated to providing parents and children with the support and services which respond to their immediate and long-term needs. The women plan and create programs and community engagement strategies, with the support of the Programs Manager, from within the centre, and travel throughout the week to conduct community consultation and implement schemes.
The Parenting Support Program works on a whole of community engagement approach. The program strengthens family bonds and revitalises cultural practices through the creation of healthy and connected environments within communities and on country. The women were previously involved in the ‘Tenancy support program’ which has now dissolved. Over the last year, Marcia and Amanda, under Tenancy support, ran a ‘clean up your community’ competition. Schemes such as this, bring communities together to share in the pride of their environments, and to feel confident and good about where they come from.
“We would talk to families. Find out what is good for families. What do they need – ask them diectly”
Marcia and Amanda recognise the importance of locals helping locals. They are able to go into communities with the knowledge of cultural protocols and norms. Amanda and Marcia make no assumption about what would be best for communities. Schemes are never imposed from the outside, but instead ideas come directly from families and communities.